Flying Cars???? Internet Disappearing????

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Adam's Apple, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Futurists see Flying Cars, Miracle Cures
    By Jack Cox, The Denver Post
    January 7, 2005

    In the year 2015, babes barely able to talk will attend school, checkbooks could be a not-so-fond memory, doctors might have the ability to zap cells gone awry, and cars will drive themselves -- or maybe even fly.

    Most Americans have a hard time embracing the future beyond 2005 New Year's resolutions, but for some, contemplating what lies ahead is a full-time job, if not an obsession.

    These are the futurists, the trend-spotters, strategists, forecasters or visionaries. They will tell you about flying cars and miracle cures, but they also focus on the subtle aspects of life, or alert you to the possible use of DNA technology for nefarious purposes.

    Denver's Kim Long, for example, has given a lot of thought to what he sees as the next development in education: packed preschools.

    "The echo boomers in the leading edge of Generation Y are getting out of college and going into their prime child-bearing years, and this coincides with the tail-end of the baby boomers still having babies," says Long, the founder and editor of "The American Forecaster," an annual publication that goes to reference libraries, schools and businesses.

    Given the widespread support for early childhood education, Long foresees an era in which kindergarten could become mandatory and children might routinely be placed in preschool as early as the age of 2 "when kids are just learning to talk."

    New Poducts, Services

    Thomas Frey, a former IBM researcher who is perhaps the dean of local futurists, follows demographic trends, too. But his passion is anticipating the emergence of new products and services -- and the corresponding disappearance of old ones.

    "When you can predict that something will happen, you can extrapolate back and figure out what kind of breakthroughs are needed to make it come to pass. Out of this process, entrepreneurial opportunities arise," says Frey, the founder of a Louisville-based think tank known as the DaVinci Institute.

    Among his predictions for the next 10 years: the end of checkbooks, fax machines, AM-FM radios, cable TV, home phone lines, drill-and-fill dentistry and invasive surgery.

    Louis Hornyak, a University of Denver physicist who is spearheading a fledgling effort to promote nanotechnology in Colorado, says engineering at the molecular level may enhance everyday life in numerous ways: tennis balls that don't lose their bounce, car finishes that can't be scratched, mattresses that can't be stained.

    But the most satisfying advances, he suggests, may come in medicine, through the use of microscopic sensors that help doctors spot diseased or errant cells, then zap them with heat or chemicals.

    It's heady stuff, this vision of the techno-world of 2015. But there's more.

    Cyberspace Disappears

    Alex Pang, an expert on emerging technologies with the Institute of the Future in Palo Alto, Calif., sees the whole notion of cyberspace vanishing like spam sent to the delete box.

    "Today we tend to think of the World Wide Web in geographical language, as kind of a place you access through the window of your PC -- a fascinating, information-rich alternate universe," he says.

    But in the next 10 years, he says, computing will become part of our everyday reality, and the Internet as a place will disappear.

    But there's a dark side to infotech, too. Internet security consultant Ori Eisen of Phoenix, founder of a firm called The 41st Parameter, has made a business out of worrying about it.

    Specifically, Eisen believes that identity theft will continue to be a threat to commerce, but the bad guys won't be stealing just passwords and account numbers. They may be pilfering DNA to place people at the scene of crimes they never committed.

    As he envisions it, a criminal of the future could obtain a sample of DNA from someone (via a used Kleenex, perhaps), use recombinant technology to clone more of it, then deposit the genetic material in locations that would finger the unwitting victim. Call it "CSI" in reverse.

    Still, you may be wondering, what about flying cars? Tom Frey of the DaVinci Institute is convinced they'll be on the market within 10 years. A company in California is testing a prototype, and "both Honda and Toyota have groups dedicated to this."

    But given technical challenges and uncertainties about air traffic control for low-level flights, robotic vehicles may be a more likely prospect in the near term.
     
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  2. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    Some interesting concepts. Especially nano-tech in the medical field.

    But flying cars have been a pipe dream for decades and I think they are unlikely in the extreme. Besides, the questionable competence of a large percentage of drivers begs the question if you want these people flying their cars over your house.

    The thing that bothers me about the article is that nowhere in this vision of the future is there a development of new or alternate energy sources. Discovery of new energy sources is key to our survival not only as a nation, but as a species, yet there seems to be little emphasis being placed on research in this area. I can forsee the day when the next world war will be fought over oil.

    Why isn't there a massive effort to develop other sources of power? For example, did you ever wonder what we would be using for motive power if the internal combustion engine had never been invented? There is no doubt in my mind that we would have some type of engine, I just have no idea what it would be. We have apparently ignored any sustantive research into the possibility of harnessing or channeling the force of gravity to provide lifting or propulsive power. Gravity has force vectors, why can't they be warped as necessary to produce force in a desired direction? But perhaps that would take more energy than it would produce. Who knows? Just something to speculate about on this wet and dreary Saturday morning.
     
  3. Johnney
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    Johnney Senior Member

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    i feel at some point these will be a reality. not in the next 10 years or so, but eventually. and its not something the "average" person is going to be able to get their hands on anytime soon after that.
    with some of the most brilliant people on earth being in the US i think we should have found something already so we could be less dependent on other nations for resource (oil). its a crock of shit that we have to go broke so we can drive to work everyday.
     
  4. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    I have dreamed of having a flying car ever since I've had a driver's license. Could it really be possible that the Japanese auto makers have a serious interest in seeing that my dream becomes reality?

    Merlin, I don't think much will be done about alternative energy sources until the powerful gas/oil lobby is broken in this country. I had hopes that Bush and Cheney, having oil business backgrounds, would see the dire need to develop new energy sources for this country, but I am becoming increasingly discouraged that this will ever be the case. All the letters I have written to my Congressmen about this issue have fallen on deaf ears.
     
  5. Merlin1047
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    Merlin1047 Senior Member

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    If the Democrats would come up with a decent candidate who had a realistic ecological and energy platform, I would vote for him / her.

    But the sad truth is that the Republicans are in bed with corporate America and the Democrats are a collection of nuts. Democrats see the electorate as a reservoir of ready cash for their idiotic social engineering experiments and Republicans see us as a commodity to be bought and sold.

    Damn it's time for a third party which has the best interest of the nation at heart. That's about the only way we'll ever make progress on alternative energy.

    Oh - and Adam - we do have flying cars, except they're called airplanes. Get up a little money and find yourself a competent instructor and you'll be "driving" one before you know it. :)
     
  6. no1tovote4
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    no1tovote4 VIP Member

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    Vote Libertarian! :D
     
  7. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    No, that's not the kind I want. I have in mind the kind that Dick VanDyke drove in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang". The kind that goes maybe 10 feet above the housetops and trees, not 30,000 feet. :D
     

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